Brian Williams Is Sometimes ‘Surprised’ At What His Rivals Are Putting Out

August 18, 2014 by  
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NEW YORK (AP) — Wearing shades as he walked back to work following a pizza lunch recently, Brian Williams ducked into Rockefeller Center and passed a tour guide who noted the celebrity sighting to his group: “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s Tom Brokaw.”

The television business can be humbling, even nearly 10 years after Williams succeeded Brokaw as NBC “Nightly News” anchor. Williams, 55, faces new competition from both ABC and CBS as they look to end NBC’s 256-week streak as the most popular evening newscast. David Muir takes over after Labor Day as anchor of the second-place “World News” at ABC. Steve Capus, former NBC news president and longtime Williams producer, is in charge behind the scenes as Scott Pelley’s executive producer at the “CBS Evening News.”

“When I started my competition was Dan (Rather) and Peter (Jennings),” Williams said. “That makes me feel old. That gets me on the treadmill every night after work. I am proud of what we’ve built here.”

So far this year, “Nightly News” has averaged 8.9 million viewers and widened its lead over ABC (8 million) and CBS (6.8 million). ABC has gained lately in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic, important to advertisers even as it is a minority of evening news viewers. ABC occasionally wins in that category and, in July, was up 5 percent over last year while NBC was down 4 percent, the Nielsen company said.

“Nightly” is the no-drama newscast at a network where “Today” seeks to regain its mojo against ABC’s ratings leader “Good Morning America” and David Gregory is being replaced by Chuck Todd as moderator of “Meet the Press,” as the venerable Sunday morning show has fallen from first to third place during Gregory’s tenure.

On a summer afternoon, “Nightly” executive producer Patrick Burkey and Williams presided over an afternoon news meeting to go over stories that might squeeze into that evening’s 22-minute news hole. Williams takes some ribbing from Todd over the anchor’s description of colleague Lester Holt “slappin’ the bass” while sitting in with the Roots on the “Tonight” show.

As if to prove a point, Williams repeats the reference on “Nightly.”

The biggest change in the job since Williams took over has been the immediacy. Burkey said “Nightly” is much more likely than it once was to change its lineup to reflect late-breaking news and frequently updates the telecast for the West Coast. With social media, if Williams says something mildly controversial or a graphic is misspelled, people at “Nightly” hear about it instantly.

While he’s anchoring, TV monitors out of sight of the cameras keep Williams informed of what ABC and CBS are doing on their simultaneous newscasts. Despite this, Williams said it’s important to program his broadcast “with blinders on.

“We don’t know what the competition is going to do,” he said. “While it is true that I am sometimes surprised at the alternatives being offered, it will in no way affect the choices I’m going to make the next day or the day after that.”

That’s polite anchor-speak. Privately, some at NBC express incredulity over some news decisions made over at ABC — such as a recent day when NBC led its newscast with the shooting death of an American two-star general in Afghanistan while “World News” opened with a collision between double-decker buses in New York’s Times Square.

These decisions bear watching, though, since ABC overtook NBC in the morning partly because of a breezier approach that caught NBC flat-footed.

Andrew Tyndall, whose consulting company monitors the content of evening newscasts, said NBC lately seems to be following ABC’s lead by introducing more morning-style elements into the second half of “Nightly,” including social media pieces by Jenna Wolfe and entertainment coverage.

Williams’ spot atop the ratings appears secure, although the change of an anchor lends some mystery to an area of TV where audiences are very loyal.

As Williams finished a second slice of pizza at lunch, he was interrupted by a fellow diner who said she was a fan and thanked Williams for positively representing New Jersey, the state where he has one of his three homes.

“I like that person who just came by,” he said after she leaves the hole-in-the-wall pizza joint Williams swears by. “That’s really meaningful to me.”

Health and ratings permitting, Williams doesn’t expect to move onto another job in television news.

“People don’t move on from these jobs voluntarily often,” he said. “When you’re like me, when you came up the way I did, why would you want to do something else?”

___

David Bauder can be reached at dbauder@ap.org or on Twitter @dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.
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Watch The Pokémon World Championship Finals Right Now!

August 17, 2014 by  
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We haven’t been this excited about Pokémon since we traded a Bulbasaur for a first-edition Charizard with that naive little kid at recess.

Yes, Pokémon is still a thing. Yes, thousands of people are watching both kids and adults play the Pokémon trading card and video games in Washington D.C. The Pokémon World Championships are going on right now, and you can catch ‘em all right here:

Here’s the schedule of Pokévents, according to Kotaku, in Eastern Time:

Sunday, August 17

  • 9:00 A.M. — TCG Masters top 4
  • 10:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. — Pokémon Trading Card Game Finals
  • 3:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. — Video Game Finals
  • 6:00 P.M. — Closing Ceremony

Who will emerge victorious? Who will get their Pokéballs crushed by the competition? Who’s reading this right now?

ONLY FATE WILL TELL.

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Big Media Aids Vital Girls’ Schooling in South Sudan

August 16, 2014 by  
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The world’s newest country, South Sudan, still struggles to end the internal conflicts that have marred its early life. This week, for instance, a deadline to reach agreement passed without success in peace talks between the warring factions. But nevertheless the country is still managing to make progress in the vital field of educating its young people.

And remarkably, one the world’s leading broadcasters, the BBC, is playing a role in that effort.

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Crucial to the country’s new educational drive is GESS (Girls Education South Sudan) – a program aimed at transforming the lives of an entire South Sudanese generation, and generations to come. (Pictured above: a South Sudan school with girl students participating in the GESS program.) The concentration on girls comes in recognition of now well-documented evidence that educating young women is one of the most effective ways to lift families and communities out of poverty.

Until now the odds have been stacked locally against such progress, not least by cultural values that downgrade the idea of girls’ schooling. Traditionally only one girl in ten has completed primary education in South Sudan, and girls comprise just one-third of the secondary school population.

GESS is largely funded by the British government’s overseas aid ministry, and the US-based charity UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) is co-managing the program in the state of Northern Bahr el Ghazai. They work alongside the deep-rooted local agency, HARD (the Hope Agency for Relief and Development) which was formed in 1995 at the height of the civil war that eventually led to South Sudan’s creation as an independent nation.

In practicalities and logistics, resources available to local schools are being seriously ramped up — everything from computer equipment to solar electricity systems to classroom chalk. There’s been a boost, too, in recruiting and specialized training of appropriately skilled staff. “Sending women for teacher training clearly increases the number of teachers,” says UMCOR’s GESS Team leader Christine Meling, “and they in turn mentor and motivate girls to complete their education and achieve similar goals”.

But perhaps the most creative hallmark of the program is the use of radio broadcasting to aid the overall effort. As in many other African countries, radio is for the vast majority of South Sudanese people the most accessible source of information, according to the country’s first national media survey, conducted last year.

For the GESS program, 15-minute radio presentations (with production aided by the the BBC’s international development charity, BBC Media Action, a group that’s not exactly secret, but not exactly widely-publicized either) explore real-life village situations and dilemmas. They are used by a network of “listening groups” as a spur for discussion and mobilization of local communities who might not otherwise appreciate the value of girls’ schooling.

Since March this year, the popular series Our School has been airing in five languages, portraying the lives of girls and their families as they struggle with, and resolve, the challenges of going to school.

In one episode 17-year old Stella Nyoka, who wants to earn a living as an engineer, says she appreciates school because:

“I need to help my family, my community and especially fellow-girls like me, and to see that girls go to school and learn — instead of ‘whoosh’, straight into marriage”.

And in an accompanying public service announcement, the availability of GESS funding is made clear … but only after an everyday problem with school uniforms is addressed by two schoolgirl characters, Paite and Keji:

Paite: Oh, Keji. Today is only Monday, and already your school uniform is so very dirty.

Keji: Paite, don’t give me a hard time about my dirty uniform. In our school, we have to sit on the floor as there are no benches. Our books are also very dirty like this. I am even starting to lose interest in school.

Paite: Oh, in our school, we have benches to sit on. Our school applied for a grant from the government. And it is our right as students to tell our teachers how to use this money.

The broadcast explains just how to apply for the funding, giving a toll-free phone number to call.

The GESS organizers are at pains to ensure an ongoing process of monitoring and evaluation for their program. As part of this UMCOR has helped to develop a comprehensive school-attendance recording system and encouraged its widespread adoption. Daily attendance is recorded and collated electronically in real time.

This monitoring innovation is already enabling the state education authorities to accurately assess the impact of the new effort. The GESS finance, in the form of what are known as “capitation grants”, is made available to schools that report encouraging attendance records. The grants aim, says UMCOR’s Christine Meling, “to improve the learning environment that will attract more girls in school and retain them”.

Cash is also available to individual students, especially those from the poorest homes, to enable them to meet their essential needs like uniforms and shoes. As Meling also points out, “Girl children will also be motivated to attend classes since they will have the money to procure basic, yet so vital items such as comfort-kits, without which they can miss classes. Teenage girls have often missed classes for up to 5 days in a month because of their menstrual cycle. With the cash grants, this could be made a thing of the past.”
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‘The Onion’ Comments On Ferguson Tragedy With Striking ‘Unarmed Teen’ Cover

August 15, 2014 by  
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On Friday, “The Onion” gave stunning commentary on the shooting of young men like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin before him, with its “The Onion Magazine” cover on “Unarmed Teens.”

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The image follows up a story the faux-news publication ran on Thursday, “Tips For Being An Unarmed Black Teen,” wherein young African-American men are encouraged to, among other things, “Shy away from dangerous, heavily policed areas.”

Friday’s image was published by “The Onion” the same day Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson released the name of the officer who shot Brown and stated that the deceased teen was a suspect in a robbery that took place earlier on the day of his shooting. (Jackson later held another press conference where he stated that Brown’s interaction with the officer in question was unrelated to the alleged robbery.)

In a statement following Jackson’s initial announcement, Brown’s family called the robbery allegations an attempt to “assassinate the character of their son.”

“The Onion” has often taken aim at gun violence in the U.S., creating headlines that are as haunting as they are darkly satirical. Earlier this year, the paper tackled the killing spree at UCSB that left seven dead with the story, “‘No Way To Prevent This’ Says Only Nation Where This Happens Regularly.”
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Photos From Ferguson And 1960s Protests Side By Side Make It Clear How Little Has Changed

August 14, 2014 by  
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A young black man in sunglasses holds a sign with bold print in full view of the camera: “I AM A MAN.”

The word “am” is underlined. He’s not just stressing the word, he’s insisting on it. Around him, there are others with similar signs, black ink on white paper. Some look into the camera lens, some stare ahead, defiant.

For years, this description would have fit the iconic Builder Levy photograph captured during the 1968 wildcat sanitation strike in Memphis, Tennessee, shortly after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. But as of a few days ago, people are finding a second photograph far too similar.

Still fighting to be recognized as human beings 50 years later. #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/VPpzhURS9b

— zellie (@zellieimani) August 14, 2014

Michael Brown, 18, was walking in his grandmother’s neighborhood in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9 when he was fatally shot by a police officer.

A crowd gathered around the site, as did a flock of police cars. Tensions grew. The “militarized” police response to the protests that followed set armored vehicles, tear gas and rubber bullets against civilians.

For many, the scene in Ferguson looks like something out of the 1960s, when such responses were far too common.

Internet users across the country soon began uploading photos of the police response to civil rights protests and photos from Ferguson and comparing them side by side. The similarities are striking, as are the questions they raise.

Someone please remind me what year it is again? #ferguson pic.twitter.com/33cebmojwV

— Brenna Muncy (@brennamuncy) August 10, 2014

Left: Police dogs attack protester in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. Right: A police dog in front of protesters in Ferguson.

The Civil Rights Act is 50 years old. These two pictures were taken 50 years apart. Behold our progress. #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/8PNn8eteO2

— Jackie Summers (@jackfrombkln) August 13, 2014

Left: Police officers stare down civil rights activists marching to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. Right: Police officers stare down group of protesters.

The #Ferguson police look more militarized now than the actual National Guard, here from the 1967 Newark riots: pic.twitter.com/qk3CKqSp8o

— Mike Konczal (@rortybomb) August 13, 2014

Top: Armed National Guardsmen advance toward a little boy during the 1967 Newark Riots. Bottom: Armed police officers advance toward an unarmed protester.

Top: A sign reading “NO KILLER COPS IN OUR COMMUNITY” is held aloft by a protester. Bottom: Protester holds sign reading “KILLER COPS WILL NOT GO FREE!” during the 1964 Harlem Riots.

Ferguson has happened before. In America. A lot. Just didn’t get tweeted. pic.twitter.com/fvvePyvgRl

— Evan Hill (@evanchill) August 14, 2014

National Guardsmen march toward smoke from the 1965 Watt Riots’ streetf ires.
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Outrage After Assault And Arrest Of Reporters In Ferguson

August 13, 2014 by  
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The assault and arrest of two reporters by police in Ferguson, MO was met with widespread condemnation on Wednesday.

The Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly and the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery were in the St. Louis suburb to cover the turmoil that has broken out following the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, by a police officer. The two men were working in a McDonald’s when police invaded the restaurant, physically assaulted them and arrested them without giving a reason for their detention. Reilly and Lowery were soon released on the orders of the Ferguson chief of police.

Journalists and observers reacted with shock and anger to the incident.

Washington Post editor Martin Baron said the paper was “relieved that Wesley is going to be OK” and “appalled by the conduct of police officers involved.” He continued, “That behavior was wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news.”

HuffPost’s Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim told Talking Points Memo, “This is what happens when local police are allowed to become para-military units.”

The outrage rocketed around social media:

The arrest of reporters @WesleyLowery and @ryanjreilly in #Ferguson is an outrageous assault on the First Amendment. http://t.co/qMAcdI4SbU

— Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) August 14, 2014

Having covered the NYPD, have to say these Ferguson cops are making a real run for the people of color/protester/journo-abusing crown

— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) August 14, 2014

Question for whoever is in charge of this police situation right now: Who are you, and what is your plan, exactly? #Ferguson

— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 14, 2014

WTF is happening in Ferguson? Kid killed, SWAT team called in, Journalists detained. Any decent leadership anywhere?

— Paul B. Raushenbush (@raushenbush) August 14, 2014

The cops in Ferguson are absolutely stupid. Arresting journalists with huge outlets is a great way to guarantee you get slammed nationwide.

— homeland offense (@onekade) August 14, 2014

The issue with cops in #Ferguson arresting journalists is: what do they feel empowered to do to people who DON’T have a media platform?

— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) August 14, 2014

Ten minutes after the arrest of respected journalist covering #Ferguson every major media outlet had that story. Take note, don’t arrest us.

— joshua scott albert (@jpegjoshua) August 14, 2014

Makes you wonder what #Ferguson police do when they think no one is watching.

— jasoncherkis (@jasoncherkis) August 14, 2014

welp Ferguson, say hello now to the beltway media crowd.

— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) August 14, 2014

Ferguson cops’ big fuckup is being so unprofessional that it’s difficult for Elites to dismiss violent overreaction as legal/justified.

— alex pareene (@pareene) August 14, 2014

Guess what tomorrow’s stories are going to be about.

— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 14, 2014

No, reporters getting arrested is not as big a deal as the murder of an innocent kid. Yes, it is terrifying for democracy.

— Irin Carmon (@irin) August 14, 2014

If they’re doing this to reporters, it’s chilling to think what the #Ferguson PD does when no one is watching. http://t.co/6XlwKbqALL

— Andy Szekely (@andysz) August 14, 2014

We are well beyond a point where someone needs to police the Ferguson police: http://t.co/VQcS7Thnw2

— Mark Dujsik (@markreviews) August 14, 2014

"lets arrest reporters and rough them up, how could this possibly hurt our case?" – #ferguson pd, strategizing apparently

— Oliver Willis (@owillis) August 14, 2014

Oh, and a reminder: Wes Lowery has a Pulitzer. Cops arrested him for asking which door they wanted him to leave through.

— Philip Bump (@pbump) August 14, 2014

So the Post’s @wesleylowery was, in fact, arrested in Ferguson. Completely unbelievable.

— Philip Bump (@pbump) August 14, 2014

Stay brave. Stay safe. @WesleyLowery

— gwen ifill (@gwenifill) August 14, 2014

National Association of Black Journalists statement on the arrest of @ryanjreilly @WesleyLowery http://t.co/31AjElwin9 #Ferguson

— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) August 14, 2014

Disgusting & another sign of no accountability MT @washingtonpost: Here’s full statement on @WesleyLowery‘s arrest. pic.twitter.com/OjGKmRtGao

— Guy Cecil (@guycecil) August 14, 2014

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Happy 2nd Birthday, HuffPost Live!

August 12, 2014 by  
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Childhood development guides tell us that 2-year-olds traditionally begin to exhibit growing independence and openly defiant behavior. Well, HuffPost Live, which turns 2 years old today, has been defiantly independent since it launched.

To celebrate this milestone, we are launching a daily HuffPost Live newsletter that will give you a preview of each day’s programming highlights and catch you up on the best moments you might have missed. Sign up here.

If you haven’t made HuffPost Live a regular part of your HuffPost experience, don’t wait any longer! Each weekday features a vibrant, ever-changing mix of smart, compelling conversations with newsmakers, politicians, celebrities and, just as important, members of the HuffPost community, sharing their personal experiences and discussing the issues that most impact their lives.

But instead of spending the rest of this post cataloguing all the things that make HuffPost Live so special, why don’t we show you some of the reasons that it was recently awarded the Webby for Best News and Information Channel for the second year in a row, draws 22 million unique visitors a month and has generated 1.5 billion video views since it launched.

Here’s a look at some of the actors, comics, athletes, and singers who’ve joined us on HuffPost Live:

This video offers a look at a number of the many HuffPost Live moments that ended up making headlines from The New York Times to The Daily Show to Good Morning America — and everywhere in between:

This video features some of the 22,500 HuffPost community members who have joined us live, on-air — and demonstrates why HuffPost Live is the most social video experience anywhere:

And, in case you missed it when it blew up last month, here’s a very funky mashup of Snoop Dogg, The Roots, Wayne Brady and David Lee Roth rapping about The Huffington Post:

To make sure you don’t miss more great HuffPost Live moments like the ones above, be sure to sign up for our new daily newsletter here.

Happy 2nd birthday, HuffPost Live! And thank you for not smearing cake all over your head.

P.S. HuffPost Live President and co-creator Roy Sekoff will be leading a discussion with our hosts about their favorite segments from the past year. You can watch it here live at 5 p.m. EDT or on demand anytime after that.
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Robin Williams’ Movies, From ‘Popeye’ to ‘The Butler,’ Were Never Just One Thing

August 12, 2014 by  
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Robin Williams was found dead at his home in Tiburon, California on Monday at the age of 63. The versatile actor began his career on television, but it was in the movies where Williams flourished. He scored four Oscar nominations in his life, including three Best Actor nods. He won Best Supporting Actor for 1997′s “Good Will Hunting.”

Despite all those plaudits, Williams’ career on the big screen had an inauspicious start: He played the title character in 1980′s “Popeye,” a notorious critical failure for director Robert Altman.

“He’s such a great, crusty character and an orphan, and sort of the whole idea of finding his Pappy — and all that stuff he mumbles is pretty nasty,” Williams said in a 2013 interview. “Going back they wanted me to re-loop it, but it wasn’t meant to be understood, it was meant to be, like, ‘Oh, I seen better looks in oatmeal,’ you know, this kind of wild stuff. But it was, you know — it’s a great character. He’s tough.”

Williams continued to star in a mix of quirky movies and broad comedies throughout the 1980s — “The World According to Garp,” “Club Paradise” among them — but it was 1987′s “Good Morning, Vietnam” that launched Williams onto another level. Williams scored his first Oscar nomination for the film and won a lead actor award at the Golden Globes in the Musical and/or Comedy category.

Two years later, Williams received another Oscar nomination for “Dead Poets Society.” By the time 1990 rolled around, he was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, a fact born out by Williams’ resume of diverse hits and critical favorites throughout the decade: “Awakenings,” “The Fisher King” (another Oscar nominated performance), “Hook,” a voice-acting role in “Aladdin,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Jumanji,” “The Birdcage” and “Good Will Hunting.” He even turned the critically panned “Patch Adams” into a hit.

In the 2000s, Williams shifted again. He starred in dark thrillers such as “Insomnia,” “One Hour Photo” and “Death to Smoochy.” The latter part of the decade brought another animated hit (“Happy Feet”) and his first franchise part in “Night at the Museum.” Williams will appear again as Teddy Roosevelt in “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” the series’ third installment, in December.

Last year, Williams even played a President of the United States. He starred as Dwight D. Eisenhower in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

“People have forgotten what it was like almost 50 years ago,” Williams said in an interview on the set of Daniels’ film. “You realize how intense it was, and how violent it was. These changes, which now having a black president, that’s the whole purpose of the script: Do you remember what it was like?”

Williams last listed credit on IMDb is as the voice of Dennis the Dog in “Absolutely Anything.” That film is currently scheduled for release in 2015.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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Reagan’s Magical Mystery… According to Ron Reagan, Rick Perlstein, Lou Cannon

August 11, 2014 by  
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LISTEN HERE:

By Mark Green

Ron Reagan and Ron Christie discuss clashing portrayals of Ronald Reagan — Perlstein’s smart, shrewd charmer (The Invisible Bridge) and Cannon’s under-informed racantour (Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime). Consensus: he was a shrewd fabulist. And on the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, both Rons lament the Watergate-ization of politics but disagree who’s the better president — RN or BO.

On Perlstein on Nixon. On the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation and publication week of Rick Perlstein’s epic, readable The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, the Rons are asked how such a corrupt guy could ever have gotten elected and how the Watergate scandal reverberates still in our politics.

Christie is unapologetic about RN’s skills and record, as he grew in stature from the Navy to House to Senate to Vice President and then a twice-elected President, highlighting accomplishments from the EPA to opening of China. Ok, except for the play, Mrs. Lincoln… Christie then allows that while “a person of character, largely”, Nixon embodied the Lord Acton aphorism that ” absolute power corrupts absolutely.” “Though he didn’t know about the break-in and bugging beforehand,” Christie concludes, “he did know about and participate in the cover-up — you can’t get away with that.”

Ron Reagan generously notes that all presidents have some dark sides that aren’t known before or during their terms, including Lincoln’s intermittent depression. We agree that, in today’s cable/social world, it’s unlikely that probably our greatest president could have gotten elected (see Eagleton). Christie adds that FDR hid his disability and immobility as JFK did his sexual misconduct… but this “era of innocence” ended on August 8, 1974 when the relationships of the press, public and president permanently changed.

Ron Reagan adds two salient points: first, today’s corruption is not as graphic and criminal as Watergate since big money super PACs are a form of corrupt institutionalized bribery; second, the over-use of “Obama’s Watergate” defines deviancy down and cheapens political discourse since nothing has recently occurred remotely like Watergate — when 29 aides including two attorneys general, went to jail. Christie agrees, saying it’s ideologically and intellectually lazy to add a “-gate” to every controversy in order to simultaneously exonerate Nixon and tar Obama.

On Perlstein on Reagan.

For his first time, Ron Reagan on the show discusses his father in the context of how the president’s stories weren’t always accurate but aspired to a “larger truth,” how he exploited racial tensions in his 1980 presidential race, and whether “Reaganism can survive without Reagan.”

We listen to Perlstein’s trenchant comments on NPR’s Fresh Air that our 40th president engaged in a “liturgy of absolution” appealing to the patriotic self-regard of millions of Americans, and could take the temperature of the audience in a way that reflected a special brilliance. But how does that portrayal square with Lou Cannon’s version of Reagan as an amiable dunce, an under-informed storyteller?

Answers his son:

He was a very intelligent man who wrote his own speeches early as governor and edited all of them. His deficiency, as it was, were his powerful emotions that could influence his thinking and deny realities that others saw. Like the way he never broke with Nixon over Watergate because he couldn’t believe that someone he knew and liked could do something like that.

Ron adds that the factual mistakes biographers and books have documented [see Reagan's Reign of Error (Pantheon, 1985 and 1988) by the Host and Gail McColl] were in pursuit of his attempt to tell a larger morale and truth. Or as my book concluded, he made a lot of stuff up but could pass a lie detector test.

What about the way that Governor Reagan and then-President Nixon surfed the wave of anti-student and then anti-minority backlash in the 60s and 70s, which proved cornerstones of their electoral victories? Christie maintains that both parties did that in the 60s. Which was true when Southern Dixiecrats were part of the Democratic coalition but, once white Southerners moved en masse to the GOP after the Civil Rights Acts, the Nixon-Phillips-Buchanan “Southern Strategy” became largely the home of one party.

The Host agrees that no one who knew Ronald Reagan has ever said he demonstrated any racial animus but, wonders his son candidly, “why did he kickoff his 1980 presidential campaign in Nachez, Mississippi talking about states rights?

Hamas, Abbas, ISIS, Netanyahu, I never got to ask him. Presumably his advisors thought it a good idea but it was an obvious play for angry white southerners.”

Last: his indisputable charm bonded him to many voters to an extent that he was far more popular than his policies. Can Reaganism today survive without a Music Man to sell them? Ron Christie vigorously insists the answer is yes because President Reagan’s character and principles endure to inspire folks still. Ron Reagan has a different view: “What remains really of what’s called Reaganism? The Moral Majority of the Nixon-Reagan years has become the Tea Party of today. And can someone explain how the traditional Republican Party of big business and banks has now become the party that denies evolution and climate change and thinks it a good idea to allow guns in kindergarten classrooms?”

On Israel-Hamas. We speak between cease-fires after Hamas violated the first 72 hours one with a rain of rockets. While world opinion is against Israel and only marginally in favor in the U.S., what else can Israel really do? Ron Reagan argues that, while today Hamas is a terrorist organization devoted to eradicating Israel, Hamas thinks the same thing in reverse about Israel… and that at some point Netanyahu has to work harder with Abbas for a two-state solution to avoid endless wars generating new generations of Arabs seeking revenge.

On Obama-ISIS. Oh the irony! A president who won office running against the “dumb war” in Iraq was forced by circumstance into going back in with a specific airlift and air attacks. Did he thread the needle? Christie argues no because of a weak and shifting policy that failed in Syria and encouraged ISIS. What? There was no al Qaeda or ISIS in Iraq until Bush43 invaded and occupied the country… not to mention that Iraq’s government wouldn’t allow the U.S. to keep a residual force of troops there after our promised pull back in 2011.

Says Ron Reagan: “Why is it that we’re the only ones who come in to save the beacon of the Arab World which also fears ISIS? The Saudis have billions at their disposal — where are they?”

Odds of some American troops having to go back in despite Obama’s protestations? Christie: 50/50. Reagan: No.

Mark Green is the creator and host of Both Sides Now.

You can follow him on Twitter @markjgreen

Send all comments to Bothsidesradio.com, where you can also listen to prior shows.

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Max Kellerman Suspended By ESPN After Comments On Ray Rice, Domestic Violence: REPORT

August 10, 2014 by  
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ESPN has suspended Max Kellerman, an ESPN TV and radio host, following comments he made about his experience with domestic violence during a discussion involving the suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray, the New York Daily News Reports.

In a discussion around Rice’s arrest for domestic violence and his subsequent suspension, Kellerman admitted to hitting his then-girlfriend 20 years ago. Speaking on the ESPN program “Mason And Ireland”, Kellerman said that in college, he and his girlfriend — who is now his wife — had both been drunk when she slapped him and he slapped her back. Kellerman added that he despite the abuse, he has been happily married for 20 years, the Daily News reports. The conversation was reportedly posted online as an ESPN podcast, but was taken down.

ESPN has not confirmed or denied the suspension, but Deadspin reports that a spokesman said, “Max Kellerman will return to ESPNLA Radio and SportsNation on Thursday.”

Sources told the Daily News that the suspension did not stem from Kellerman’s domestic-violence confession, but from not adhering to ESPN guidance on discussing the Rice case. “My understanding is that it was part of a larger conversation ESPN had with all its on-air people,” a radio industry source told the Daily News, adding, “Kellerman obviously didn’t pay attention.”

Rice was suspended by the NFL in July after his arrest for allegedly striking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer. Rice was captured on video dragging an apparently unconscious Palmer from an elevator during the incident in February. The NFL suspended Rice for a mere two games following the incident, drawing criticism for its weak response.

The Ray Rice case was recently at the center of another ESPN on-air incident. Last month, the network suspended analyst Stephen A. Smith for a week after he suggested that domestic violence victims needed to be mindful of the “elements of provocation” when dealing with abusers.
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